If you know anything about cars, you'll have had a love affair with at least one Mercedes-Benz in your life; it could be a luxurious S-Class or a classic SL. Mercedes-Benz is an aspirational brand that has many an admirer drooling over models they can't afford, but the new A-Class is set to change that. Launched in the US for the 2019 model year, the A-Class takes the fight straight to its German contemporaries, such as the Audi A3 Sedan and even the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. Instead of focusing on delivering a sports-focused drive, the tiny Merc provides a luxurious experience on a budget, and looks and feels truly premium. With 188 horsepower, the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine under the hood isn't the most powerful, but it gets the job done, the main attraction is the gorgeous interior and exterior design and good ride quality. Starting at $31,805, the A-Class is a genuine Mercedes-Benz, on a budget.
The A-Class is the new kid on the block, well relatively new: it made its debut on American soil in 2019 and entered the new decade without any significant changes.
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Possibly one of our favorite features of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is its stunning exterior design. Mercedes-Benz has been on fire with their latest batch of styling sedans, with the A-Class sharing its swooping lines with the likes of the updated E-Class. The front of the 2020 A-Class is adorned with sharp LED headlights and that signature Merc grille, the former of which includes LED daytime running lamps. Moving to the rear reveals a set of sporty exhaust tips and more LED lighting. Standard exterior features include 17-inch alloy wheels, a panorama roof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and several optional extras. Mentionable exterior options include active LED headlamps with adaptive high beam assist, power-folding side mirrors, and an AMG body styling kit that adds a resculpted front air dam flared side sills and deep rear valance, along with 18-inch AMG wheels.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a visually compact car, and as with competitors such as the Audi A3, its dimensions seem miniature when compared to the average-sized American car you find on the roads. We think it looks great, and its smaller wheelbase and overhangs add to its sporty nature. With a short wheelbase of 107.4 inches and a total length of 179.1 inches, you can start to get an idea of the A-Class's diminutive stature. The total width is 78.4 inches, and the A-Class stands 56.9 inches tall. The sleek body design offers a drag coefficient of 0.27 Cd, and the whole package weighs in at 3,285 pounds for the FWD, and 3,395 for the AWD version.
A stunning exterior design deserves a range of eye-catching colors, and Mercedes-Benz, ever the classy brand, offers a range of ten exterior paint colors that match the swooping lines and sporty front and rear end of this small German sedan. Three of the available hues come at no charge, namely Polar White, Jupiter Red, and Night Black. All others come at the cost of $720. At the darker end of the selection, you get Cosmos Black metallic, Mountain Grey metallic, and Denim Blue metallic, while the lighter side gets colors such as Iridium Silver metallic, and Mojave Silver metallic. If we were the ones doing the buying, we'd go for the alluring Mountain Grey Metallic. Patagonia Red, also at $720, will also be available in the near future.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class might look like a nippy little thing, and it sure is in AMG form, but the standard A220 lets us down in terms of outright performance capabilities. Under the hood lies a moderately powerful four-cylinder engine producing 188 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, which doesn't even sound impressive on paper, and out in the real world, it feels slower than its equally powerful rival the Audi A3. Mercedes-Benz claims a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds, which is around half a second slower than the Audi, but in real-world terms, it feels zippy enough for driving around town, and once on the go, there's enough pulling power to perform most maneuvers on the road. Merging onto the highway, and maintaining a decent cruising speed is done without much effort. A performance car it is not, but it won't have you sitting in the slow lane either. While the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is only available with all-wheel-drive, the A-Class can be had as either a FWD or AWD sedan.
The original A-Class A140, produced between 1997 and 2004 for international markets, was powered by a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which produced 80 hp and 96 lb-ft of torque. Fast forward a few decades, and the American market now gets to enjoy their first taste of an A-Class, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine producing 188 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. That's quite the power increase, and begs the question as to what the end game is? Will base model A-Class cars of the future come with 400 hp high-strung turbo engines, or can we call it a day at 188? Power is sent to either the front or all four wheels via a 7G-DCT seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that slots gears into action faster than you can say "I should probably check my Instagram account before this light turns green." We also noticed minimal turbo lag and excellent throttle response from this power plant, making the acceleration to top speeds quite satisfying.
Cars in the subcompact executive class are expected to be agile performers at the very least, and cars like the BMW 2 Series and Audi A3 bring their A-game. So can the A-Class stand up to its German rivals in terms of handling and driving capability? The answer is a resounding yes. Get behind the wheel of a 2020 A-Class, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the way it remains composed over almost all road surfaces barring low-speed cobblestones and the like. We did notice that the lighter front-wheel-drive model performed better over rough surfaces than the heavier AWD car. When pushing through the corners, the A-Class offers poised performance, and keeps body roll to a minimum, especially when fitted with the lowered AMG Line suspension package. Adjustable adaptive damping is also available for those that are serious about their ride quality. Steering is responsive and precise, and the overall experience is entertaining when the need arises, and comfortable overall.
Sure it may not be the fastest car in its class, but the 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class will return impressive gas mileage figures thanks to an efficient engine and transmission setup that delivers a great balance of performance and economy. The EPA rates that the FWD car will manage 24/35/28 mpg city/highway/combined, while the AWD car will take a slight knock when out on the highway, for an overall figure of 24/34/28 mpg. Those numbers are comparable with the Acura ILX, which will see 24/34/28 mpg. The 2020 Audi A3 will hit a best of 27/36/30 mpg. With a 13.2-gallon fuel tank, the A-Class will travel up to 370 miles on a single tank.
Mercedes-Benz gets a lot of things right, but what they do best at the moment is to create beautiful interiors that exude refinement and luxury. The A-Class takes full benefit of this renaissance in interior design from one of the world's most loved automakers and feels more special than the clinical approach of both Audi and BMW. Standard features on the 2020 A-Class include power front seats with three-position memory, power lumbar support and adjustable cushion lengths for the front seats, a three-spoke steering wheel with leather trim and touch control buttons, as well as dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, and a SmartKey remote locking system with keyless start. Optional extras include 64-color LED ambient lighting with illuminated vents, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, as well as an auto-dimming driver-side and inside rearview mirror, and multicontour front seats.
You won't struggle to fit four of your best girlfriends in the car for a springtime shopping spree; the little A-Class surprised us with its spacious interior that offers as much practicality as it does glamour. Sure the rear seats might be on the tighter side, but so are all the cars in this category, and average-sized adults will have no problem squeezing in the back for short to medium distances. The official measurements read as follows: headroom comes in at 40.3 inches in front, and 37.2 in the rear, enough for six-footers, while legroom is measured at 41.8 inches up front, and a slightly cramped 33.9 inches in the rear. Shoulder room is an acceptable 55.1 inches in the front and 54 inches in the rear.
The beautifully designed interior of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class makes use of class-leading materials and complementary colors to create a space that feels tangibly upmarket and can compete with cars in higher price brackets. In standard form, the A-Class' seats come wrapped in MB-Tex leatherette in your choice of Black or Macchiato Beige at no extra cost. To get color schemes such as Neva Grey/Black, you'll have to specify the AMG Line package. There are also four genuine leather colors to choose from, including classic Black, and the attractive Bahia Brown which is only available with the heated seat or heated and ventilated seat option. Red and black leather (or Dinamica and MB-Tex) can be optioned on with the AMG Line package, too. Interior material options include aluminum with a linear or longitudinal grain, Natural Grain Black Linden wood, or Natural Grain Brown Walnut wood. Both wood options will cost you an extra $325.
What the A-Class makes up for with good handling and stunning looks, it lacks in real-world practicality, and by that, we specifically refer to its small trunk. Buyers in this market should expect smaller trunks from this segment, but the A-Class disappoints with a total trunk size of only 8.6 cubic feet. What makes things worse is the narrow trunk opening, which constricts the size of items you can fit in the rear. For those that need to carry bulk amounts of three-ply toilet paper and lip gloss, the A-Class sedan does graciously allow the rear seats to fold flat in 40/20/40-split folding fashion for a smidgeon more space.
Small-item storage is average for its class: you can store personal belongings in a small glove box, two front cupholders, narrow door pockets, and a split open center console storage box.
The 2020 A-Class comes well equipped from the factory, but in the same breath, a lot of luxury features are left on the comprehensive options list, and we had hoped that some more common luxury features would make it on the no-cost list. Standard features for 2020 include SmartKey remote locking with keyless-start, power front seats with three-position memory and power lumbar support and adjustable cushion length for front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a power glass panorama roof with power interior sunshade. Driver assistance features include active brake assist, a radar-based collision mitigation system, driver attention assist, adaptive braking technology with automatic brake drying, hill start assist, and a brake hold feature. Optional features include auto-dimming driver-side and inside rearview mirrors, an AMG Line flat-bottomed steering wheel, and aluminum shifter paddles, as well as additional driver assistance tech such as active lane change assist, blind spot assist, and rear collision detection.
Mercedes-Benz has come a long way in terms of designing user-friendly infotainment systems, and the one offered in the 2020 A-Class is a well-sorted system that offers most of the modern amenities you'd expect from a car in this class. The standard seven-inch color touchscreen display offers crisp imagery and good response times, and comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, as well as a console-mounted central touchpad controller with multitouch gestures. The "Hey, Mercedes" voice assistant is surprisingly adept at picking up most accents, and other tech such as Bluetooth streaming and HD Radio also make their way onto the list. The standard eight-speaker system is powerful enough, in our opinion, and sounds especially good when playing Macho by Jaakko Eino Kalevi. With the optional Premium Package installed, you get twin 10.25-inch displays for the instrument cluster and infotainment system. The optional multimedia package adds navigation and an available Burmester surround sound system sports 12 speakers and a 590-watt nine-channel digital amplifier.
Seeing as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class was only released last year, it hasn't really had much time to break down and show its flaws in terms of reliability. There has been a single recall issued for the 2020 car which was due to an unsecured driver's airbag. Mercedes-Benz will back their compact exec with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which includes corrosion, roadside assistance, and drivetrain cover for the same amount of time or distance.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class has not yet been tested by the NHTSA or IIHS, and that goes for the 2019 model as well. A 2018 model has been tested on the Euro NCAP circuit and came back with a perfect rating of five stars. We do not doubt that the A-Class will offer similar levels of protection, and its standard range of safety systems is right up there with the competition.
Following in the footsteps of its siblings, the A-Class offers excellent levels of safety tech when you select the optional driver assistance package, but even in standard guise, you get quite a lot of gear. The eight-airbag system includes front-seat side airbags and knee airbags, too. The A-class provides driver assistance features such as driver attention assist, active brake assist, radar-based collision mitigation, and emergency-sensing brake assist. For those that are serious about safety, Mercedes-Benz offers an optional Driver Assistance Package (which requires the Premium and Multimedia Packages to be optioned on, too). This package includes active distance assist, lane change assist, evasive steering assist, as well as active brake assist with cross-traffic function, and active blind spot assist amongst others. It's safe to say that with all the options ticked, the A-Class is a seriously secure car.
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is arguably one of the best looking cars in this segment, and, thanks to the backing of the three-pointed star, should make big waves in the competitive subcompact executive class. While it might not be the fastest car amongst its peers, its turbocharged 2.0-liter with 188 hp pulls the A-Class along with confidence and should be enough for most. Where the A-Class truly shines is behind the wheel, it offers sharp and precise handling with minimum body roll while maintaining good comfort. The interior of the A-Class is one of the best in the class, but rivals such as the Audi A3 Sedan offers more trunk space. In terms of safety and features, the A-Class comes with most of the luxury features you'd expect from a car in this class, including driver attention assist and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The options list is a long one and can raise the price of the car substantially. Overall, the A-Class is a beautifully packaged machine that takes the fight right to the top.
In the USA the Mercedes-Benz A-Class has a price that is relative to the competition with both the FWD and AWD cars coming in with an MSRP under $35,000. The base model car, which shares its 188 hp turbocharged engine and features with the AWD car, will cost you $32,800, excluding registration, tax, and a destination fee of $995. Going for the AWD version comes with a price increase of $2,000 for a grand total of $34,800. In comparison, the Audi A3 Sedan will set you back $33,300 in base form, and $39,500 in S line quattro Premium Plus 45 TFSI guise.
There are two Mercedes A-Class models with varying specs available for 2020; the A220 and the A220 4MATIC. Both cars share the same 2.0-liter inline-four turbocharged engine that produces 188 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Both cars also share a seven-speed automatic transmission, and while A220 cars send their power to the front wheels, A220 4MATIC models get AWD. From there on out, all features are mirrored between the two. Standard exterior features include LED headlights and taillights, and 17-inch alloy wheels, a panorama roof, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Inside the beautifully designed cabin, both the A220 and A220 4MATIC get standard power front seats with three-position memory and adjustable cushion lengths for the front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, and a SmartKey remote locking system with keyless start. Driver assistance features include driver attention assist, active brake assist radar-based collision mitigation, and emergency-sensing brake assist.
Both the A220 and A220 4MATIC share the same available options, so we'll talk about some of our favorites. On the outside, the A-Class can be adorned with a $2,600 AMG Line exterior styling package that adds 18-inch AMG twin five-spoke wheels, a chrome diamond-block grille, perforated front brakes with painted calipers, and lowered comfort suspension. On the inside, the A-Class is available with a $310, 64-color ambient LED lighting system or multi-contour seats for an extra $590. Probably the most significant package on offer is the Premium Package, which, for $2,200, adds blind spot assist, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster display and touchscreen multimedia display, and auto-dimming driver-side and inside rearview mirrors. The Driver Assistance Package incorporates driver assistance features such as active speed limit assist, active lane-keeping assist, and active blind spot assist for only $2,250. Lastly, the Multimedia Package adds navigation with augmented video assistance, amongst other features, for $1,150.
The 2020 A-Class is a good deal in any configuration, but if it were up to us, we'd go for the 4MATIC version that offers more stability thanks to its AWD system. The A220 4MATIC gets the same 188 hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine as found in the standard A220 and shares the same list of standard features as well. If we were to be the ones doing the buying, we'd get one in Mountain Grey Metallic with 18-inch five-spoke wheels with black accents, and the $3,000 AMG Line with Night exterior styling package. On the inside, we would specify the black leather seats with the standard aluminum trim. Extra packages we'd go for is the Premium package for its larger 10.25-inch screens and the Driver Assistance Package for its array of driver assistance features. With all these boxes ticked, you're looking at an asking price of $46,150.
The ever-popular C-Class is the best it has ever been, especially after last year's update that saw the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine under the hood get a power bump to 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The C-Class competes in a class that is expected to be everything to everyone, and despite this pressure, the C-Class gets it right. Available in RWD and AWD guise, the C-Class will return 24/35/28 mpg city/highway/combined in RWD configuration, and 23/33/26 mpg in AWD form. Compared to the A-Class, the C-Class' power delivery is way more pronounced, which makes sense when you consider the 67 hp power gap, and on the road, it feels just as planted, but not as pointy. As with the A-Class, the interior is beautifully designed and put together, and there's a good level of standard features and safety gear. What we don't like is the high base price, small trunk, and the fact that its competitors offer a better driving experience. If you need the extra space and power, get the C-Class, but we like the look and drive of the A-Class better.
It might be the cheapest Audi on sale in the United States, but the Audi A3 Sedan sure does deliver the goods. From the outside in, the A3 feels like a premium product worth much more than its base asking price of $33,300. Under the hood of the A3 lies a similar turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 184 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque in FWD 40 TFSI form, which gets a bump to 228 hp and 258 lb-ft in AWD 45 TFSI form. Fuel consumption comes in at 27/36/30 mpg for the FWD, and 22/30/25 mpg for the quattro version. As with the A-Class, the A3's compact design lends itself to entertaining handling, and the overall driving experience is on par with the Merc. The A3 is built with care and precision, and it's tangible on the inside, where the choice of materials is top-class, as is the level of standard safety gear. Unfortunately, the current A3 is set to be replaced for next year, but that means you'll be able to scoop a current model up for a steal. Get in the Audi if you're after a bit more fun.
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